Classification and Statistics

Settlement Type: small town
Population (2011): 9064    
(2001): 8851
(1991): 8844
(1981): 8139
(1971): 6502
(1961): 5505
(1951): 4498
(1901): 3992
(Royal and Municipal Burgh)
(1881): 4043
(1871): 4007
(1861): 3897
(1851): 3883
(1841): 3777
(1831): 3857

Tourist Rating: Two Stars
Text of Entry Updated: 22-AUG-2013

Latitude: 55.9556°N Longitude: 2.7847°W
National Grid Reference: NT 511 739
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Located amongst rich farmland between the Garleton Hills and the Lammermuir Hills (which border the Southern Uplands), Haddington is an affluent county town, although their are pockets of poverty in its public housing estates.

The flooding of the River Tyne has always proven a problem in Haddington. Records show a devastating flood in the 14th Century A plaque on the corner of the High Street and Sidegate shows the height of the flood in 1775 but worse than that was in 1948 when the river rose more than 3m (10 feet) above its banks and flooded 450 homes. Emergency accommodation had to be provided using the army camp at Amisfield Park.

Haddington is twinned with the French town of Aubigny-sur-Nère, which has Scottish connections going back to the 15th C., having been given to Sir John Stuart of Darnley, after the Scots Army assisted the French by defeating the English at Vieil Baugé in 1421. Subsequent to the twinning in 1965, a significant number of cultural and educational exchanges have taken place.

The origin of the name Haddington has given rise to debate, but most-likely comes from Hadda's Tun, or Hadda's village, after the mythical founder of the Danish kingdom. The town is important in history which often formed the 'front line' to English attack. Created a Royal Burgh sometime after the accession of David I in 1124, this status gave Haddington privileges, including the ability to raise customs duties and royal patronage, both of which brought wealth to the town. Between the late 12th C. and its destruction in 1242, the town had a royal palace, which was birthplace of Alexander II (1198 - 1249).

The street pattern of the town-centre is mediaeval, with the long and narrow gardens lying, for example on the south side of High Street, providing evidence of 'riggs' from the same period.

Haddington was an important religious centre on the pilgrim's route between St. Andrews and Santiago de Compostela in Spain. St. Mary's became a collegiate church, attracting religious scholars. The ruin of St Martins, on the edge of Nungate, represents the only visible remnant of a great Cistercian Nunnery founded in 1178 by Ada de Warenne, who had been given the town as a wedding present by her father-in-law David I. In 1503, the young Margaret Tudor stayed here on the way to marry James IV. Edward III of England destroyed the nunnery, church and St. Mary's, along with much of the rest of the Scottish Borders, in 1356. St. Marys was rebuilt in the late 14th C.

The 'rough wooing' of Mary Queen of Scots, whereby Henry VIII of England intended to ensure her marriage to his son, brought about the Treaty of Haddington. This was signed in Haddington in 1548, within ear-shot of Henry's army which was besieging the town. The treaty brought French assistance in return for Mary's betrothal to the Dauphin of France.

Historic country seats in the vicinity include Lennoxlove, home of the Duke of Hamilton, Stevenson House, Colstoun House and Amisfield Park (demolished 1928).

Haddington is an important market town, lying amongst the rich agricultural land of East Lothian. It was the first and most significant grain market in Scotland from the late 18th until the mid-19th Century There was a 18th Century granary and maltings at Poldrate Mill, now restored as a community centre. Lying across the Victoria Bridge, the 18th Century Bermaline Mills, which were significantly extended in the 19th Century and are still operating as Pure Malt. Wool processing and cloth manufacture is first recorded in 1681, bringing mills and dye-works which took advantage of the River Tyne as a power-source. Hand-loom weaving continued into the latter part of the 20th Century as did another traditional industry, with the last tannery closing in the 1960s.

The railway once came to Haddington, as a spur from Longniddry, and although closed in the 1968, its spirit remains in the west of the town in names such as Station Road, the Railway Hotel and Station Yard Industrial Estate, where a brick-built station building and platform remain. The railway did little for Haddington, being the terminus of a modest branch line, acting only to divert traffic from the road to the south which had brought important trade to the town.

The Japanese company Mitsubishi opened a colour television plant at Gateside, on the west of the town, in 1978. This quickly became a major employer, but closed in 1998 with the loss of more than 500 jobs. The site has subsequently been redeveloped to provide much-needed industrial accommodation.

Today, Haddington is a significant administrative centre, home to the local authority's headquarters, which is the town's major employer. Tourism is also important, with attractions such as the 15th Century St. Mary's Kirk, with historic castles such as Lennoxlove and Hailes closeby, although the town is bypassed by the main A1 road, which was reconstructed as a fast dual-carriageway in 1996. Other contemporary industries include electrical, electronics and retailing. There is a regular farmer's market.

References and Further Reading
Green, C.R. (1908) Haddington, or East Lothian.
Haddington History Society (ed.) (1997) Haddington: Royal Burgh - A History and a Guide. Tuckwell Press, Phantassie, East Lothian
Hajducki, Andrew M. (1994) The Haddington, Macmerry and Gifford Branch Lines. The Oakwood Press, Oxford
Lang, Theo (ed.) (1952) The Queen's Scotland: Edinburgh and the Lothians. Hodder and Stoughton, London
McWilliam, Colin (1978) The Buildings of Scotland: Lothian except Edinburgh. Penguin Books Ltd., Harmondsworth, Middlesex

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